On the Effect of Dielectric Breakdown in UD CFRPs Subjected to Lightning Strike Using an Experimentally Validated Model

T. M. Harrell, S. F. Madsen, O. T. Thomsen, J. M. Dulieu-Barton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

To meet worldwide increases in energy demands Wind Turbine (WT) manufacturers are producing turbines with longer blades to generate more electrical energy. To lightweight these blades, Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymers (CFRP) have been introduced in load carrying structures such as the WT blade sparcaps. The introduction of CFRPs presents new challenges in integrating protection from lightning strikes. The semi-conductive nature of CFRPs adds an additional electrical path to ground, and the anisotropic nature of the material properties, in particular the thermal and electrical conductivities, creates large amounts of resistive heating. The aim of this paper is to develop and validate a modelling approach to predict lightning damage in unidirectional (UD) CFRP materials. The proposed model uses an approximate approach that includes the electric field dependency to simulate dielectric breakdown. The model predictions are validated against experimental data and observations obtained from simulated direct lightning strike tests conducted on UD CFRP laminates. A comparison between the experimental results and the proposed model shows good ability to accurately predict the shape, volume, and depth of the inflicted damage. Furthermore, the proposed model is benchmarked against conventional damage models reported in literature, and a clear improvement of the predictive capability is demonstrated, especially with respect to the predicted depth of damage.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1321–1348
Number of pages28
JournalApplied Composite Materials
Volume29
Early online date2 Mar 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022

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